Art only became a struggle for me my last year of college. You know when you have a professor or mentor that makes you feel like you can do anything? I had that for four wonderful years. My last year I was put to the test with an absolutely shitty professor, at first, when I realized that this was going to be a challenge, I was all on it. It was my “senior year” and this was when I would put everything of who I am into my senior project. An Athlete, a feminist, a (in my mind) blossoming Anthropologist. But trying to maintain my artistic self ended up failing and resulted in the death of my creativity and long story short, I just got beaten down and folded. I dropped my senior project and took the C-, the absolute lowest grade I had ever received, and left the U with the belief that maybe I just wasn’t a “real” artist. I didn’t fit in to this persons view of what an artist was, and I chose to believe her.
After that, I didn’t make anything for years. Previously I was never seen without my little Moleskin, jotting down ideas, making little sketches, and slipping little flowers in between the pages to dry. I have a box of them, all filled with thoughts and sketches, but have not had one since I left the University. I see now that this period was a kind of death for me. I can’t “look back” because I am still in it, still grieving for that loss. But why did this happen? Why did I, through my inaction, agree?
The “why” is something I have struggled with, and have recently started figuring out. It was a thought placed in my mind by a post from friend Susan Donnolly. Essentially, the thing that is wrong with your running is probably in some form of your life too. Going into that will be another blog, as I recently just said to myself “well maybe I’m not a real runner.” See a pattern here?
I am still unable to make anything for myself. Which is okay. I believe this recovery process is going to take some time. You’ve seen me start this landscape journey, but before this it was highly emotive work, I put a lot in and it took a lot. Also understand my friend that a lot of it was bad, but I loved it and it was all me.
The best part of this, because I can’t make anything for myself, I’m making art for my friends. Art, like Ultra running, can be very selfish. It is time for me to make things for other people, to give back, and maybe if I give enough I’ll get my voice back. I am so very happy to take this necessary journey, if only for the look on my friends face when she first sets eyes on this gift.
Alex’s painting of her amazing journey was the first time I felt confident with a brush in my hand for a long time. Which in itself causes this strange and unnecessary fear.
What a terrible thing.
Ah but what a wonderful journey of life we are on…